There is little evidence supporting sustainability of public health interventions based upon the 10,000 steps concept conducted in "real-world" settings. This study investigated the effectiveness of the 10,000 Steps Walking Challenge, initiated in conjunction with the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, in March 2006.
This study analyzed characteristics of registrants (n = 1836), pedometer counts logged onto a Web site between February 2006 and February 2007 (n = 18,032 entries by 914 participants), and two surveys of participants in June 2006 (n = 128) and December 2006 (n = 62).
The program reached its target population of females aged 30-49 yr (40.2% of participants), a group known to have low activity levels, which also has potential to influence the behavior of family, friends, and workmates. Compliance was poor; only 49.8% of registrants ever logged steps, and of these, only 45.5% continued beyond the period of the challenge and 16.6% for more than 1 month. Mean (9527 ± 297, 95% confidence interval) and median (9638) recorded steps per day came close to the target of 10,000 steps; 80.1% of participants reached 10,000 steps at least once and 21.9% did so every time they logged steps. For survey respondents who provided complete data (n = 53), the mean estimated daily steps increased significantly (P < 0.001) from 6401 ± 884 steps before the program to 9921 ± 1039 steps at the first survey and then fell back significantly (P = 0.026) to 8727 ± 1284 steps at the second survey but remained significantly higher than the baseline figure (P < 0.001).
The program had immediate effectiveness and was sustainable for a small proportion of participants, but effectiveness was limited by problems with long-term motivation and compliance/adherence.
School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
Address for correspondence: Warren R. Payne, Ph.D., School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, PO Box 663, Ballarat, Victoria 3353, Australia; E-mail: email@example.com.
Submitted for publication September 2008.
Accepted for publication January 2009.